Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to school blues...

I guess I should be excited to head back to school, especially since when I am there, I really am happy to be there most of the time. The thing is, I just feel like the end of summer came in a whirlwind, and I wasn't ready. I mean I still haven't finish posting events from this summer and we are already heading into a new school year? Seriously time, quite messing with me.

I know two of the reasons I struggle to head back are the cute little blond boy with a captivating imagination on the top of this page, and that sweet faced brunette whose smile is nothing shy of dazzling. I know that any working Mom struggles with guilt, and I know that I am doing what is best for my family given the choices we have made. I know that it has been my choices that have led me to this moment in time, and most days I wouldn't trade it for the world.

And yet, when I had to go back to school this week I felt sucker-punched. I wasn't ready to put my little guys back in "school". I wanted to be selfish...I wanted more than anything to be their every moment teacher more than the teacher to 130 students I haven't met yet. I felt torn in two one side to the passionate educator I was who started teaching 10 years ago, and the other to the all encompassing role of Mom I've become since. I started to feel sad...sad that I have such difficulty embracing them both, seeing that one impacts the other, and that together they have great power.

I am lucky. My kids are in daycare three days a week. Three days because I have help. They are never going to have to go to daycare in the summer, or a summer camp if they don't want to. They will have their Mom home all during their school vacations, and afterschool to get them off the least till high school. They are why the guilt?

I guess I know that time is fleeting. I see it in Matt's every movement. In the fact that he is no longer a baby, but a boy who is learning to talk, assert himself in this world, and express who he is. I see it in the size of Zach, his features shifting from the chubby roundness of yesterdays to the more defined features of a little boy. His mind is racing, with questions, and dreams,memories and stories of his very own. "Play with me Momma" he will say, and I know too well that soon, it won't be me he turns to for entertainment. Their world is getting bigger every moment, and I worry that in a blink I will have missed it. You know the time when I was their world, their home was their playground, and their lives were simple. I think maybe Moms who stay at home might even feel this way sometimes...filling their days with all of the other responsibilities it takes to run a household, they probably go to bed sometimes wondering if they made the most out of their day with the kids. Add in being gone for 8 hrs, and coming home on 1/2 empty and things get a little dicey sometimes. Some nights I am ready for bedtime to come 30 minutes after I walk in the door, and then with that thought comes the guilt. How can I love them so much, and value time with them above all else, and still be so willing to give up the precious time I have with them on work days?

I guess as a working Mom you have to be "ON", all the time. Doing your most with the four hours you have in that day because there is no buffer time, which is why its hard to look forward to school this year. My students want the best of me, my sons want the best of me, and they both deserve it. Its just that today I am wondering...will my best be good enough? I sure hope so...but only time will tell.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One of the best days of summer...Part II

After traveling to Sesame Street, the boys decided to do a little grocery shopping:

Here Zach tried his hand at his first job, a cashier:

This was seriously a lot of fun, except for the fact that Zach wanted to put everything in his cart, and the museum limited it to 5 items, and Matt though he was Mario Andriette and was practically running people over with his shopping cart!

Then we were off to explore Japan, where Matt and Z went to see if a friend was home:

And Zach headed off to school to have lunch: And while their father, who lived in Japan for awhile, tried to convince them this room was interesting, Zach had his sights set on something a bit more "comical".

Wasn't I proud to see him so excited about Reading Adventureland...but wait...he's pointing to:


This museum had a room that specialized in Marvel Superheros and well, around these parts, seeing life-sized replicas of your favorite pals, is the pretty close to being in Heaven!

Zach was so excited he almost didn't spot his ultimate hero....THE HULK! Of course once he say him he and Dad transformed into their Hulk persona's too:

Even though Zach loves to be a Superhero, he was a little apprehensive about scaling the side of a building:
I guess even the best of superheroes can get afraid of heights now and again!

Once we were able to pry Zach away from the Superhero room, we headed down the road to The Bernstein Bears neck of the woods. At first the boys didn't seem to be as entranced with this room, but Zach got to building,

and Matt discovered a slide.

They both took to running businesses:
And Zach served me up a HUGE lunch at his restaurant:

While Matt greeted all the guests:

We made sure to brush after the meal of course:

After that we were off to party with pirates:

Meet a giant:

Climb his Beanstalk:

Pick vegetables with Peter Rabbit:

Create our own cartoons:

Then, Matt tried to grab a quick nap:

But decided hangin' with a troll was a better way to spend the day:

When he was done, he took me to the ball in a giant pumpkin:

While Zach talked with a dragon

After a wonderful lunch together at a 50's diner, we spent some time riding the carousel, and going on a train ride. Then it was time to get going. Dad spoiled his boys with some friends to take home. Matt of course got an Elmo whom he often sleeps with now. And when he can't find him will call, "Helmo, whhere har you?" . Zach opted for Grover, because we all know he is the superhero of the show.

What you probably don't know about him though, is that he is one heck of a driver!

Can you see now why it was one of the best days of the summer? I can't wait to go back and neither can the boys!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One of the best days of summer...Part one

This summer has been a ton of fun. Maybe its the fact that both of the boys are at an age where they love to play, don't need two naps in a day, and are both pretty steady on their feet. Whatever it is, it has been a wonderful adventure, and I'll miss it next week when we all return to school. I love the summer because it means staying home with my boys all day, being the one to hear all of their stories, the one whose there to witness all their antics, both good and bad. And while I am content to spend my days with my sons, summer usually means that my love is uber busy. It is ridiculous how long his days are, and how often he is buzzing around the house, juggling his phone, a computer, and piles of paperwork. It can sometimes make me overwhelmed just watching him work, so I am pretty sure it is exhausting on his end. Workaholic comes to mind, but then again I am pretty sure a large part of Wayne's drive revolves around the three of us that watch him bust his butt day after day. Weekends are coveted around here, especially in the summer, and a day of from work for Wayne is pratically impossible.

So when Wayne decided to take a vacation I was thrilled, even if it was only for a day or two. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for our family outing. I wanted to take the boys to a play musuem. When I really want something, I usually get it, I am just really lucky (ahem spoiled) that way. So off we headed.

When we got there I didn't really know what to expect, but if the 177 pictures I took don't tell how awesome the day was, maybe this post will. From the moment we got there Zach was revved up and really to explore. Matt was literally jumping out of his seat, and since its a musuem of play, I relinquished control and let him roam(under my close supervision of course).

Here are the boys upon our arrival

Once inside Zach really enjoyed looking at the big aquarium...he has been asking for a goldfish for months now!

So when we made it to Sesame Street:

Zach was happy to go and hang out with Dorothy:

Then the boys had a blast checking themselves out in Elmo's fun mirrors:
And we were even asked to be on the show by The Count:

After, Zach stopped by to visit Big Bird, but he was already out for the day:

So we all decided to play a little chess and wait:

Well, almost all of us...

Matt thought he should check out whether he has a career ahead of him as a taxi-driver,

but opted to run the Muppet Cab Company with his brother instead.

And that was all within the first half hour...

Stay tuned to see what happens when Zach meets his Hero, how we spent an hour with the Bernstein Bears, our visit to Japan, and some of the boys favorites, according to them, from the day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roughin' it?

I am not a sleep-in-a-tent kind of girl. I am almost embarassed to say this now because I grew up loving roughin' it. I loved hikes and swimming in lakes, even when the seaweed could touched me. I loved; not bathing everyday, finding worms in the dirt to go fishing, campfires and of course Smores. OK..I still like two out of four of those things. Today, I won't go anywhere where I don't have access to a private shower, especially if I am going to stay there for days. My family mocks me because one of the reasons I never wanted to stay at the cottage for more than a day or two is because the old shower really scared seriously, the one time I tried it the knobs fell off and I had to call my Mom in to save me!

My sister in law Lisa, her husband Skip, and my nephew Jason go every year to "camp" at a park in NY. I have not really thought much about camping since my parents sold their motor home 15 years ago, but the way Lisa talked about this place, I was intriqued. She showed me the website, and Jason told me all about the fun he's had there, so I thought maybe next year we would take the boys camping. A week before her annual trip Lisa called to get a dressing name, and she invited us up for a visit while she was there. I was pretty excited about the invite, so I convinced Wayne to take the day off (he really only took a 1/2 day)and find some time to drive up for the day. I am so glad that we did, because it was wonderful seeing all of the boys enjoying themselves.

When we arrived, Zach was super excited to get the chance to hang out with his big cousin Jason. Jason was in his element there, running and playing and showing Zach all the best things about the camp. They were so busy together, the best I could do was get this shot of them chatting by the swings:
The boys really enjoyed the hayride together, where the kids belted out a ton of camp songs:

Back at the wonderfully comfortable and not at all roughin-it-in-the-woods- cabin, Jason and a bunch of his friends welcomed the boys into their boys club. Seriously they were happy as clams up in that loft space:
When the kids got a little settled in, it was off to the fabulous waterpark, where both the big boys(Wayne and Skip) had just as much fun as the little ones:
Jason was an old pro at the waterpark, but Zach and Matt were a little (water)gun shy so they headed down to the beach. Here they were like little fish, swimming everywhere, and building something(I can't even call it a castle) in the sand:

And while Aunt Lisa and Jason were away getting Jason a really sweet temporary tatoo, the boys enjoyed"Frogging" in the marshes by the cabin with Dad:

While the boys had no success catching a tadpole. we did meet a little girl who was kind enough to show us the frog she had caught. (Don't worry she released it soon after):

Zach truly enjoyed when Uncle Skip gave him a fishing lesson(I enjoyed the fact that he used a lure, so no digging in the dirt for worms was necessary):
Being there reminded me of all of the wonderful camping trips I took as a kid, and since you don't really need to rough it there, it was right up my alley. It truly was a wonderful trip, and we all enjoyed it so much that we will be going back next year to spend more time learning songs from Jason, fishing and swimming with Uncle Skip, and being loved on by Aunt Lisa. Thank you for such a memorable day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy 1st birthday Averie!

Over twenty years ago I met the girl who lived next door. That girl has been my best friend ever since. When she finally found out that she was expecting, I knew she was going to have a daughter. I knew it because she is a fashionista of sorts and it just wouldn't have been fair if she didn't get a daughter to shop with! I just didn't know that she was going to get such a sweet and calm child, sometimes I look over at Averie and think, boys were never that content to stay in one place playing with one toy! You have to love little girls for that! On top of it all, my niece Averie is such a cutie too. Here she is rockin' her bee outfit for her BEEautiful schemed 1st birthday party:

Jenn(aka Penny) was a little nervous to have such a massive party at her house(I think there were over 70 people there to celebrate the adorable birthday girl. My kids spent a ton of time bouncing in the bounce house, and spending quality time with family and friends:

Then it was cake time, and we all gathered around and sang our hearts out. Averie took the whole thing in, and really seemed to enjoy it, even though she looks a little overwhelmed in the picture:When it was time to taste her cake, she was hesitant at first:But after a few minutes of encouragement from her loving parents:She dove right in. Seriously she stayed this way for a few minutes, just sucking in her birthday cake. It seems Averie and I share something else in common,we both love us some birthday cake!It was really such a lovely party for one of the loveliest little girls I know. Happy first birthday Averie, we love you!